Barracuda douse the Heat with 6-4 victory

@sjbarracuda: The San Jose Barracuda Maxim Letunov (84) puts one on net against Stockton Heat goalie Nick Schneider (30) Saturday night at Stockton Arena 

by Marko Ukalovic

The San Jose Barracuda started off a quick and never looked back as they scored three first period goals en route to a 6-4 victory over their Nor Cal rival the Stockton Heat on Saturday evening at the Stockton Arena. The win snapped the Cuda’s four-game losing streak on the road.

Alex True and San Jose (12-3-1-2) drew first blood before the game was even two minutes old. True scored his fourth goal of the season at the 1:25 mark of the first period, putting the puck past Heat goalie Nick Schneider’s five-hole (6-2-0). Cavan Fitzgerald and Francis Perron received assists.

The Cuda would double their lead 50 seconds later when Maxim Letunov
threaded a pass from the right wing to Manny Weiderer, who stood atop the crease on the near swiped it in to give San Jose a 2-0 lead. Weiderer’s fifth goal of the season came at the 2:15 mark. Jeremy Roy also received the secondary assist. 

Captain John McCarthy concluded the three unanswered goals by San Jose in the first period as he scored his scored fourth goal of the season tipping in a shot by Fitzgerald at the 16:46 mark. It marked Fitzgerald’s second assist on the night. Rourke Chartier also received the secondary assist.

In the second period, Stockton (11-11-1-0) would break through early on when Glenn Gawdin’s initial shot was stopped by Cuda’s goalie Antoine Bibeau (5-2-2) but Matthew Phillips jammed in the loose rebound for his fifth goal of the season at the 2:21 mark. Dillon Dube received the secondary assist.

In what would be the turning point in the game, San Jose regained their three-goal lead when Jeffery Truchon-Viel spun in a puck in from close range at the 4:01 mark.

San Jose extended their lead to 5-1 after Jayden Halbgewachs received a pass wide open in the slot from True and buried it past Schneider for his sixth goal of the season at the 6:24 mark. The goal snapped a seven-game goaless drought for Halbgewachs.

Schneider’s was sent to the showers right after allowing five goals on only 14 shots. Jon Gillies came in mop-up duty for the rest of the game.

Spencer Foo scored the first of his two goals on the night when Alan Quine fed a pass to over to a wide-open Foo on the back door, who swept it past Bibeau for his seventh goal of the season at the 8:56 mark.

In the third period, Stockton made it 5-3 early into the final frame. Scott Sabourin snapped a shot past Bibeau into the short side of the goal for his second goal on the season at the 3:06 mark.

Chartier then finished off the scoring for the Cuda with an empty-netter at the 17:32 mark. Dylan Gambrell and Bibeau were credited with assists.

Foo completed the scoring with his eight goal and second of the evening to make the score look respectable with 49 seconds left in the contest but it was too little, too late for Stockton, who are 1-5 against the Cuda on the season.

Bibeau earned the victory after stopping 26 of 30 Stockton shots, while Schneider suffered the loss and Gillies (4-7-1) took a no-decision after stopping all 12 shots he faced in 32 minutes and 35 seconds of work.

GAME NOTES: San Jose was 0/3 on the power play. Stockton was 0/1.

With the victory, it was San Jose’s third straight against the Heat and improved their record at Stockton Arena to 3-0 on the season. The win also placed San Jose atop the AHL with a .750 winning percentage

The announced attendance was 3,080.

UP NEXT: The Barracuda return home on Monday, Dec. 3 to host the San Diego Gulls at 7:00 pm at SAP Center.

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